An American brand that began operations in the mid-1990s, Revel, like JBL, is part of the Harman group. It draws on the resources of the group's elaborate research facility in Northridge, California, so there's some family resemblance between the two brands, though Revel's headquarters is in Massachusetts, and this speaker is actually manufactured in Mexico.

Revel's budget Concerta range is essentially a surround sound package that includes two stereo pairs - the large F12 floorstander, plus this £400 per pair M12 standmount, which, presumably, is intended primarily for surround sound duties.

Naturally enough it's a two-way design, loaded by a flared rear port. Although quite compact, it boasts an attractively chunky shape and feels quite hefty for the size, turning the scales to nearly 9kg. However, it has to be said that the overall effect is somewhat marred by a rather prosaic vinyl woodprint surface finish, and with this in mind the price does seem a little high.

A 165mm cast-frame driver with a 115mm cone handles bass and midrange duties, before handing over to a 25mm dome tweeter, loaded by a short horn flare and protected by a phase compensator.

All these drivers use what Revel calls Organic Ceramic Composite (OCC) diaphragm material. This is actually created by deep-anodising aluminium, creating a stiffening oxide skin on the surface, which sounds entirely inorganic.

Both drivers are neatly mounted on a black-painted front panel, while the vinyl woodprint is available in cherry, maple or black. Leaving the grille off is an option, of course, though if this is done the picture-frame front edge is punctuated by eight black mounting lugs that don't look at all attractive. Steep-slope filters are used in the crossover between the drivers, fed from a single terminal pair.

Despite our recent fondness for the F12, and the fact that this smaller Concerta shares some of that model's winning ingredients, we were unable to raise the same degree of enthusiasm for the M12.

While it's certainly best kept clear of walls, and the bass has an appealingly firm character, it also has a tendency to make bass guitars sound rather thumpy.

There's also some lack of richness through the cello register, so that the left hand of a piano, for example, sounds a little weak and lacking in tonal warmth. No less serious perhaps, is a degree of midband coloration that is quite evident when reproducing the human voice, especially on speech. Not only do they sound a little 'thin', but there's a pinched character too, with more than a hint of nasality.

Dynamic range is pretty good here, indicating that the enclosure is under pretty good control, while dynamic expression is certainly par for the course amongst its peers, and rather better than some. But the top end is less happy. It lacks sweetness, smoothness, sounds a little too obvious and sometimes a bit scratchy too. Without meaning to sound overly harsh, it's inclined to sound a touch crude.

There is much that is competent here, but at the same time there's nothing really to distinguish this speaker from the average. It's simply not special enough in view of the price, and the cosmetic presentation is rather lacking in imagination.